Friday, December 6, 2013

WI Politics: Less Money for Higher Ed, & Fewer Votes for Students, by Shelby Jacobson

The biggest issue among legislation affecting UWL is state budget.

Legislative liaison Joe Heim says nothing comes close to the issue of the state budget.

Loss of graduates out of state is a main concern in the limit of financial assistance one is given for school. In other words, the more students leave after graduation, the less the state wants to support students financially. When a state gives financial aid to a student, the state hopes the student remains for employment.

Budget-cutting and voter suppression is ”payback” for being a net-loss state for graduates moving, Heim said.

A majority of graduates in the La Crosse area stay in Wisconsin after graduation. Madison typically loses approximately 1/3 of graduates to other states, says Heim.

On average, more campuses vote for Democrats. This is because Democrats typically support lower interest rates for student loans. Republicans are typically in favor of higher interest rates, limiting the amount of students enrolling for fear of debt after graduation.

Stricter laws on voter ID’s is placed on college students to limit the amount of student voters.  According to Heim, higher education and income affect voter turnout.  Universities do not have PACs or fund candidates. The power for universities is voting. Voting is a right, a voice, he says.

UW-L is one of the higher turn-out campuses for voting.